NEWARK — He took on the Jersey City political machine. Then he thumbed his nose at Gov. Chris Christie. Last week, he chastised New York City’s mayor.
Now Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop is going after the city of Newark.
“Jersey City will be the largest city in New Jersey by the end of 2016,” Fulop said emphatically in his State of the City address last Thursday.
In less than two years, Fulop predicts, the state’s second-largest city will become the largest, eclipsing Newark’s population for the first time.
The response from Newark? Not so fast, Steve.
“Newark isn’t stepping aside for anyone,” Mayor Luis Quintana said. “We’ll continue to be the greatest and the biggest all-American city in New Jersey.”
A Star-Ledger analysis of housing starts, Census data and independent projections indicate Jersey City could indeed overtake Newark as the state’s largest city — but not until roughly 2035.
But that’s not stopping Fulop from touting his city’s growth.
In January, the Jersey City Economic Development Corp. issued a request for proposals to marketing firms to spread the word about Jersey City as a destination for business, families and young professionals.
“Jersey City will surpass Newark and become the largest city in New Jersey by the end of 2016,” the request read.
Fulop said increased development and healthy demand will put his city over the top in no time.
“I think that as New York City — Manhattan — has become less affordable, people look for alternatives,” Fulop said in an interview. “We’re situated in a sweet spot. We have 5,600 units under construction — more than any other city in the state — and another 7,000 on deck next year.”